Can you have it all, be the Perfect Woman, have a fulfilling life, be the Perfect Wife, the Perfect Mom? I’m typing this as I handwash the kids’ clothes (the washing machine is on the blink and there’s no light to even use a working one), boiling their bathing water on the gas (thanks for nothing, Lagos Water Board), whilst warming their lunch. My Nanny has disappeared into thin air, hubby’s at work. I’m exhausted and barely have the mind to even think of what to post. I have a supportive spouse (bathes the kids, feeds them and does the dishes) but the burden on housework and childcare falls on me. This is NOT the life I thought I’d have by now.
I look at my friend, she has it all! Or so I think: great job, fine husband, house in Ikoyi, always travelling to nice holiday destinations, taking professional exams to better her career. Yet, last week, she had an emotional and very public meltdown. Her son’s birthday was coming and every thing she picked, her nanny quietly corrected her, “Madam he doesn’t like that”. And Nanny was right. Because my friend doesn’t have enough time to spend with her kids, the Nanny knows them better than their own mum. They freak out if Nanny has an offday. My friend is tired of buying gifts to bribe her own kids to love her, tired of being jealous of the nanny, tired of fighting her feelings of inadequacy.
Can you have it all? I don’t think so and I think we as women pit ourselves under great pressure to want it all. There must be sacrifices made in other parts of your life, for one section to flourish. And trying to force equal amounts of attention to every thing leaves you burned out, tired, depressed and resentful.
How can you balance your life?
Well, firstly, identify what you really want. I mean, what you want people to hear about you at your funeral. If you wanna be called “the greatest Accountant who ever lived”, go for it. If you wanna be known as “the Best Mum who was present for every single School Christmas Party”, yay. Own it.
Then, accept it. Accept that other things in your life may suffer. And be ready to drop them for your goal. If you have to give up being a prominent member of your Church’s Hospitality Team because you need to move to another part of your city for work, girl, let it go!
Create time for You. To focus on what you need. If you need to stop attending every single event your child’s school throws so you can have a minute to start writing that Children’s book you always wanted, that’s what their Dad is there for. You’re not a single parent, even both single parents make time for their kids, why are you shouldering it all by yourself?
Curate your social media
Be careful of whom influences you. If I see I’m following a talented young woman who is single, having a great career and travelling to every continent for getaways, I’ll salute her and unfollow. Not because I hate her but because I realised she and I were at two different sections of our lives. And I was creating undue tension in my life thinking to myself “I should be living it up like her”. Same with if I find myself following the daughter of a politician, with a nice house she owns, 2 nannies, 1 cook and 2 drivers, thanking God for her wonderful life. That’s not me right now. I will join her to thank God for her comforts but I darn well won’t be monitoring her every move on Instagram. Her life isn’t mine.
Have a Daily Plan
Make a list of what you want to achieve daily, from the mundane (“I wanna clean the fridge” ) to the lofty (“I wanna invest N300,000 on short-term Treasury Bills”).
“You deserve some accolades!”
I’m typing this whilst doing laundry and gonna get lunch started and work on my financial investments. Boss mode! Lol. But seriously, praise yourself for even your littlest achievements, stop talking them down. Get comfortable with accepting praise.
Take it easy
Finally, it’s okay if you didn’t wear a cape and save the world, one FeministNG tweet at a time. It’s okay if you didn’t cross off all the lines on today’s To-Do list. Tomorrow is another day to fly and do your best. And set realistic goals and be happy and content with you.
Because you’re enough. Just as you are.